We heard about the NFL's player safety ad all week and late in the Super Bowl, it finally aired. The commercial focused on the evolution of equipment and rules, splicing together footage from each era of football in a seamless sequence. It began with a flying wedge and players without helmets, and ended with video of the Super Bowl 46 kickoff.
Here's the full commercial, as it aired on Sunday.
Impressive production work and all that, but consider the message once again. In the week preceding the game, Jon Bois wrote about the player safety commercial that we all knew was going to air. When taking a stab at what we'd see, he had this to say.
We'll have to wait until the third quarter on Sunday to find out whether these 60 seconds will be used to own up to transgressions and make an honest step forward, or whether they will be spent to prop up the myth that player safety has been an overruling priority for the league throughout its history. If the latter comes to pass -- and, unfortunately, I suspect it will -- we should know that we're watching revisionist history, and be thankful only that the clouds are finally breaking apart.
And he was right. The commercial was meant to subtly spotlight the safety changes that have been made over the course of the league's history. But there's still a long way to go: The concussion issues Jon mentions in his piece are the most glaring example.
So while visually impressive and perhaps a positive sign to what's to come, the NFL still has a long way to go to show it's committed to player safety. And a commercial is talk, not action.